Survey reveals 94% of retirees see financial security as the ultimate retirement dream

How would you fill the days if you didn’t have to work? New research by Legal & General has revealed the expectations and realities of retirement in the UK.

The survey examined attitudes among 2,000 retirees aged 50-plus and whether their original retirement dreams had turned out as planned. The results reveal the often complex and nuanced relationship between retirement expectations, financial stability, and the actual experiences of retirees.

Ahead of retirement, Brits had various expectations for their post-work life. Top of the tree was the desire to have more time to themselves – selected by 56% of respondents. This was followed closely behind by the 53% who expressed their excitement about spending more quality time with family.
For many, retirement has been everything they hoped for. The survey revealed that 47% of respondents have travelled, which is similar to the 52% who hoped they’d be able to. Similarly, 22% of retirees have embarked on new hobbies, only slightly below the 25% who had anticipated they would.

Despite this, the financial reality didn’t always match people’s needs. Just under half (41%) of respondents said they have ended up needing more money than planned – and 1 in 5 said they needed ‘significantly more’ than anticipated. Among those who have recently chosen to retire early (50–59-year-olds), there was a higher number of respondents (53%) who said they needed more money than expected.

In terms of pension pots, Legal & General’s research found that the mean amount in a pension pot at retirement is just over £185,000. However, there were wide differences in people’s retirement savings. Around 16% of people retire without any funds in their pension pot, while 21% have saved between zero and £49,000. In contrast, roughly 12% of respondents have amassed over £500,000, while 5% have saved between £700,000 and £899,000.
In terms of the decisions people make about what to do with their retirement savings, over a third (31%) didn’t go anywhere for advice and just over a quarter (26%) spoke to a financial adviser.

With money worries cited as the biggest cause of pre-retirement angst (41%), these findings highlight the importance of seeking financial advice to help people make the right decisions for them, and ensure they have enough money to last a lifetime.

Lorna Shah, Managing Director, Legal & General Retail Retirement says “there’s a lot you can do to help you live your ideal retirement when you finally get there. Start by imagining it! Sketch out your later life hopes and dreams. Then you can see if you’re saving enough and making the right pension pot choices to support them, and take action if you’re not.

“Of course, in our tough financial times that probably won’t be as easy as it sounds. But even if all that planning’s a bit stressful and confusing, our research shows that it will be well worth doing. Looking at your financial situation, setting later life goals and getting advice on the best way of achieving them are key steps toward a happy retirement.

“So whether you’re looking to spend more time with loved ones, travel the world or just keep up your current lifestyle, our advice is the same: Plan ahead and you can do it.”

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Legal & General has also developed a Pension Annuity Calculator that can assist individuals in planning their retirement income. The calculator is a valuable tool to assess how their pension pot might provide for their retirement, offering tailored insights to suit individual circumstances. Please see the calculator here: